Oct 9, 2012 8:39am
Re: Looking for some political fire
Mother Grumble: How much do you feel you should be involved with the society you're living in, that is, contributing to it?
Garcia: Well ... I don't ... there are certain kinds of social obligations which we observe at home, for example, if there's somebody who needs a benefit you know ... we've done benefits for the Black Panthers at various times ... we try not to approach things on that level if we can avoid it because really the one thing we've really got to offer - it's not money, it's definitely not money, it's not even the capacity to earn money - it's the capacity to create good energy. And that's what our real value is ... if any. Socially it'd be groovy to tie that in on a level, well ... for example, let me give you the example that to me was most perfect. That was about two years ago we played in Cincinnati, Ohio and with us there helping out were the Hog Farm. Do you know about the Hog Farm? ... right ... What happened was we played the gig and it was incredibly high and everybody had a real good time ... the following day the Hog Farm people with the help of the local radio station, the FM station ... underground radio ... organised a lot cleaning thing. What they did was they went to a very poor part of town, found an empty lot that people had been dumping garbage in for years and in the space of one day they cleaned out all the garbage in there still on the basis of that initial energy from the concert, you know ... the good thing ... they used the radio to describe to people what was going on, and say we need all the help we can get, we need a couple of trucks, you know and people came right through with it. At the end of the day they left a playground for the kids in the neighbourhood ...
MG: The Hog Farm do that a lot.
Garcia: Right ... so that's the thing of following through with that energy.
MG: There's a lot of spin off energy following the Dead?
Garcia: Right ... and that's the fix ... like our energy is not topical. It doesn't make a political statement, it doesn't make a statement concerning morals or anything like that, it's just good energy ... and good clean energy. And if after that energy has been, you know, flowing then it's a matter of somebody stepping in saying look we've got this good energy, let's move with it, let's go ahead and do something.
MG: And you see that as your involvement in society?
Garcia: Exactly ... and that would be the best way we can relate but as it is we do benefits etc.
MG: You mentioned the Panthers ... I was wondering how much of young people's involvement and affinity to black causes, how much of it do you think relates to their music?
Garcia: I think that if they were to ... unfortunately the black community isn't at all together in the United States, so there's millions of diverse opinions as to what should happen, how it should happen, so forth and so on. So there isn't anything there - for example the middle class white kid who has a social conscience to be able to really grab on to and help out ... really there isn't nothing really that solid. Now, the black scene is going away from the whole violent revolutionary trip and they're concentrating on basically accomplishing one or two things in the community thus gaining community support. Which is really where it's all at anyway ... and away from the ego trip type of ... you know what I mean where the leaders get to be the focus of the thing. That whole Eldridge Cleaver shakedown and all the rest of that stuff was very unfortunate because it took away the focus from the causes and from the real difficulties and put it into a personality cult situation which is really not good. But since then the blacks, the people I know who have been Black Panthers, black revolutionaries, Marxists and so forth have changed their viewpoint toward a more basic, humanistic accomplishment trip. That's like basically ... it looks to me like it's much healthier, because it has to do with really doing things you know, really feeding people and so forth rather than talking and proselytising and that sort of thing.